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Subject: Tomb Trader Tabletop Review - Cut a Deal or Get Cut Out! rss

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Quick Glance: Tomb Trader

Game Type – Card
Number of Players - 3 to 6 (with a 2 player variant)
Mechanics – Negotiation, Set Collection
Difficulty – Easy
Release – 2017
Publisher – Level 99 Games
MSRP - $25.00 (Around $15.00 on Amazon)


Remember the scene in Indiana Jones where he had to argue with three other people for exactly one minute about who would take which piece of treasure before the temple collapsed? No? Me either. However, if your sitting here thinking that's a scene you'd like to to see, have I got a game for you!

In Tomb Traders players are explorers trying to make it out of an old tomb with the most treasure by the end of six rounds. Each player has a character card that gives them secret treasure that is worth more to them if they acquire it. Every round players start by placing treasure cards face up on the table in 2 rows. One row is the inner tomb and the other is the outer tomb. Players then secretly select if they want the treasure in the inner or outer tomb and simultaneously reveal their choice. This is when the real action begins. Once everyone knows where they are hunting for loot, they have exactly one minute to negotiate with whoever is there with them in the tomb. If all players in a tomb cannot unanimously agree how to split the treasure after one minute, they all get nothing. Once the six rounds are over the player with the most treasure and gold wins.

Rule book

Rule page is more like it. This is a game of pure negotiation so as you can imagine there is not much to the rules. It's worth noting that at the top of the rules there is a web address you can go to to watch a tutorial. Even though its a simple game, this is a nice touch.

There are a lot of themes that could fit this mechanic, but the game conveys this theme well. The art is evocative of old pulp action flicks and the panic of having to negotiate before the room collapses gives you just the right amount of tension.

Very quick and easy. Deal a random player, give everyone 3 gold to be used in negotiations, flip some cards, and you are ready to go.

Unfortunately the game really falters here. The card stock is fine but not really exceptional and the gold pieces look like something someone picked up at the Dollar Store. The art is not fantastic either. It conveys the theme well, but overall is fairly bland. It's unfortunate that things falter here, but it's not bad enough to make the game unplayable.

Final Thoughts
I really liked game. It plays VERY quick and the pure negotiation is a lot of fun. I mentioned above that the components were not spectacular, but that is a pretty minor gripe looking at the big picture. I think the $25 MSRP price tag is a little on the high side too, but not by too much. The only big downside to this one is that pure negotiation is most definitely not up everyone's ally. It's easy to see playing this with someone who is either non-confrontational or very confrontational and having no fun at all. The good outweighs the bad here though so if you like fast, tense bartering, pick this one up.
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Speaking of components, I strongly encourage adding a small sand timer. Using a phone or a wall clock to limit the negotiations to 60 seconds doesn't work quite so well.
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